CHICAGO (AP) - Marty Turco showed why the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks signed him.
The 35-year-old former Dallas Stars goalie made 33 saves, including several key late stops, in Chicago's 3-1 victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
He also made an impression on the Kings.
``Bottom line is, we couldn't find a way to get it by Turco,' Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. ``We were getting pucks in, getting shots to the net. We were close. And one of their premier guys, at a critical time, scored the third goal.'
Patrick Sharp was that guy, taking the pressure off Turco when he beat Jonathan Bernier for the insurance goal with 2:05 remaining.
``There were some huge blocks out there, some great slide plays around my net to help me out,' Turco said. ``There were certainly some plays that were super close, a couple of bang-bang plays that got to me or missed wide.'
Turco, signed to a one-year contract to replace Antti Niemi in the offseason, allowed only Justin Williams' first-period goal. The Kings outshot the Blackhawks 15-8 in the third period, pressuring Chicago until Sharp scored his NHL-leading ninth goal of the season.
Turco got a piece of Alexei Ponikarovsky's shot with 6:20 to play, then heard it clink off a goalpost.
``When we did force them, get them running around a little bit, we got the puck up to the top and they blocked a lot of shots,' Williams said. ``They really fronted a lot of pucks, and stopped us from sustaining a lot of pressure because of that.'
``That's how you're going to win championships in this league,' said Viktor Stalberg, who scored the winning goal 1:18 into the second period. ``Every team in the NHL is playing a defensive-minded hockey game.'
Jake Dowell also scored for Chicago.
Chicago improved to 6-4-1. Los Angeles dropped to 6-3-0 after winning five of its previous six.
The Blackhawks played the final period without forward Marian Hossa, injured midway through the second. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville called it an upper-body injury.
Stalberg made it 2-1 by backhanding the puck over Bernier's left shoulder off a rebound in the slot.
The teams traded goals in the first period. Dowell, Chicago's fourth-line center, beat Bernier with a backhander from the crease at 5:16. Williams answered by one-timing a pass from defenseman Davis Drewiske past Turco at 9:34. Drewiske's feed caromed off the boards behind the net.
Turco stopped Ryan Smyth's deft poke of the puck in the slot, and a pair of chances by Ponikarovsky in the third period. Turco also made difficult saves on Smyth and Brad Richardson 18 seconds apart late in the second period. Richardson also missed a half-open net from 10 feet midway through the second.
``Marty really had to keep us in the game there in the latter part of the second and big segments of the third,' Quenneville said.
NOTES: Tomas Kopecky returned to the Chicago lineup after missing a game because of an upper-body injury. ... Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell, on injured because of a sprained right knee since early in the preseason, might play as early as Saturday night at Minnesota. ... Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty missed his fourth game because of a concussion.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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